WILTON –– A chase that began near Massena and reached “triple digits speeds” while crossing Franklin County resulted in the arrests of three New York City men in Saratoga County on Monday.

The incident began when U.S. Border Patrol agents pulled over two vehicles –– one of which had illegally entered Canada and returned –– just outside of Massena on Monday afternoon, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release. One of the vehicles fled shortly after being stopped, triggering an hour-long pursuit that was ultimately halted due to safety concerns, the release said.

The driver of the fleeing SUV, later identified as Nelson Reyes, 39, of New York City, drove south on State Route 37, east on State Route 122 and east on U.S. Route 11.

State Police joined the chase near Ellenburg and followed the SUV to just south of Plattsburgh, where they broke off broke off the pursuit.

During the chase, the SUV struck two uninvolved motor vehicles, injuring one person who was transported to Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to a state police new release.

The SUV, which was being sought by a CBP helicopter, was later spotted by troopers near Exit 23 on the Adirondack Northway, sparking a second chase that ended when Reyes got off the Northway at Exit 16 after he reportedly ran out of gas and struck a snowbank. Reyes and two passengers in the vehicle fled on foot but were quickly captured, the state police release said.

The arrests were made roughly 200 miles from where the pursuit began.

“This is a great example of various law enforcement partners working together,” Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said in his agency’s release. “Thanks to the hard work of our agents and our partners, our communities are safer.”

Reyes was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, after a search of the vehicle revealed that he was in possession of 50 pounds of marijuana, troopers said. He was also charged with third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a vehicle and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. He was arraigned in Wilton Town Court and released on his own recognizance.

One of the passengers, Lewis Espinal, 31, of Manhattan was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of s controlled substance and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. Espinal is accused of possessing a quantity of oxycodone.

Espinal was also wanted on a parole violation, troopers said. He was released on parole in September 2018 after serving roughly 2 1/2 years of a 3 1/2- to six-year sentence stemming from his 2016 conviction in Manhattan on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, first-degree reckless endangerment and first-degree bail jumping, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.

The second passenger, Jerson Norberto, 29, of the Bronx, was also charged with resisting arrest. Troopers later determined he was also wanted for a parole violation and as a fugitive from justice in Rhode Island. Norberto was released on parole in October after serving roughly a year of a three- to seven-year sentence stemming from a 2018 conviction in Westchester County on charges of first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and two counts of first-degree attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Both Espinal and Norberto were also arraigned in Wilton Town Court and committed to the Saratoga County Jail on the parole violations.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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